by Robert Wilkinson
Today we give a big Happy Birthday to a Taurus and all around good guy who has definitely changed the world for the better, and given us some great music along the way! Yes, it's the birthday of my old friend Willie Nelson, a genuine hero, friend of our farmers, and pioneer champion of biofuels, free speech and other forms of plant power!
As I've told you before, I knew Willie Nelson (April 29, 1933) in the late 70s when I lived in Austin and being part of his "family," helped make his "Fourth of July Picnics" a staple of Texas culture and history. He really is as nice a guy as he seems, and the world is a better place for his sweet songs.
Here are the Highwaymen - Willie, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash doing the classic hit "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys." We'll follow this with Kris singing his hits "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee." I found a segment of them doing "Crazy" from 1992, live in Scotland, and from Long Island in 1990, here’s a twofer of the boys doing the famous Guy Clark hit “Desperados Waiting For A Train” and the Steve Goodman hit “City of New Orleans.” We'll close with an apt song, "Living Legend."
Here’s an entire hour and 37 minute concert! From Nassau County in 1990, “the Highwaymen Live in 1990” (Fantastic concert!!)
Here's Willie and Johnny Cash on VH1 doing Johnny's gigantic hit "The Ring of Fire," followed by an audio-only clip of them doing Willie's composition "Crazy." We'll take this into a great video performance of "Folsome Prison Blues," and finish this quartet of duets with Johnny and Willie doing the classic "Ghost Riders in the Sky."
Here are Willie and Paul Simon in 2003 doing Paul's hit from 1966, "Homeward Bound."
Here are a couple of his big ones about the party life, "Bloody Mary Morning," and "Whiskey River," and in a nod to his famous bus, here's a performance set to still shots of Toby Keith and Willie doing "I'll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again." In this 3 minute interview, Toby Keith tells the uncensored true tale of getting blasted with Willie on the bus. Find out why Toby Keith will never smoke with Willie Nelson again!
Very live on "Outlaws and Angels," with Toby and Merle doing a classic written by my old friend Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho and Lefty" which we'll follow with all three joined by Joe Walsh in "Ramblin' Fever"
Here he's joined by a couple of legends! First, from his 70th birthday in 2003 with Leon Russell and Ray Charles, "A Song For You." We follow this with a duet between Ray and Willie, "Seven Spanish Angels"
Here's the music video of Willie and Merle Haggard in their original offering of, “Pancho and Lefty." RIP Townes. Some of us still miss you.
Here's a great music video of "Gravedigger."
Willie doing the Jimmy Cliff classic, "The Harder They Come."
Here's Willie at the Luck Texas lawnmower races doing "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore."
Here's Willie performing "Funny How Time Slips Away" in 1997.
From "A Vision Shared: A Tribute To Woody Guthrie And Leadbelly" in 1988, here's Willie performing the Huddie Ledbetter classic "Goodnight Irene."
From an earlier era, here's the beginnings of a Texas tradition! We begin with Willie and the great Leon Russell at the 1974 Willie Nelson's 2nd Annual 4th Of July Picnic in Bryan/College Station, TX doing "Goodnight Irene."
From the same 4th of July Picnic in 1974, here's Willie doing "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Nightlife," and Leon's composition, Willie's huge hit "A Song For You." Also from 1974 at the Picnic, here are "Whiskey River" and "Stay All Night," and here are Willie, Waylon, and Leon joined by Doug Kershaw doing a smokin' version of the Hank Williams classic, "Jambalaya."
From 1974 on television, here's Willie and friends doing the Bob Wills legendary hit, "Stay All Night."
This clip is a part of my history with the Man. After doing some security, medical, and promotional coordination in the 1973 and 1976 4th of July Picnics, in 1979 and 1980 I created and ran a full scale M*A*S*H field hospital for those 4th of July Picnics (you can call me Sherm). In between those Picnics he had us do the medical for the concert finale of the movie "Honeysuckle Rose." From that movie in 1980, here's "Angels flying too close to the ground." I suppose we were. Thanks for the memories, Willie.
We'll close the concerts with Willie in Amsterdam in 2007 doing "Amazing Grace."
To learn more about Willie's biodiesel efforts, definitely visit Biowillie.com. Then there's Willie Nelson.com, Willie's personal site which offers you an intimate inside look at this American Legend. Also, here's the link to Farm Aid, which you should attend or support, since farmers are one of the very few forces in the food chain we can and should support.
So here's a most Happy Birthday to a true American hero, and may you have many, many more, old friend!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson